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Recovering Wholeness or Uncovering Wholeness?

Reflecting on the layers of self I’m uncovering as I journey along this path of self-discovery, I wonder:

Are we recovering wholeness? Or are we uncovering wholeness? Or is it something else?

I think of the famous quote by Michelangelo:
michelangelo-angel-marble-recovering-wholeness

I really believe that we are like that piece of marble, and that we are like a sculptor too. And at some point we see that angel (ourselves as whole), and we set about gently and compassionately carving to set her/him free.

Our wholeness is always there.

We are always whole. It’s just that sometimes there is so much accumulated rubble all around us that we struggle to realise or feel this wholeness. The way I see it is that at some point/s in life we begin picking at the layers, piece by piece, slowly digging deeper to reveal that wholeness that has been waiting for us our whole lives.

Is it uncovering or is it recovering wholeness? Really this is just semantics. But it did get me thinking about the process and the name I have given this space.

I’m currently training to be a self-love guide with Christine Arylo, and as part of our learnings we practice each tool we acquire with ourselves and each other. Therefore we are constantly digging a little deeper and throwing off another wee layer we may not have even known was there.

With each tiny piece of debris that gets removed or layer that is peeled back I feel more lightness. Deeper connection.

In this space I become more and more aware of my wholeness. It is a beautiful space I aim to hold and honour. Do we ever get to the bottom and have completely uncovered or recovered our wholeness? Or is a better question: do we feel our wholeness more strongly?

Right now in my life, I feel that as humans, living in this world, and fully committed to life, life happens. And so, at some points we feel very connected to our wholeness and aware of it, and at other times maybe it feels a little hidden under debris. I see it as a connection. Sometimes our connection to our wholeness is strong and at other times it feels further away, but always it is there.

Coming back to semantics, maybe it is recovering wholeness. Maybe as humans we are in a dance of recovering our connection to wholeness…sometimes waltzing with her, sometimes solo dancing and at other times tangibly connected at the hip in a sensual bachata.

What do you think?

 

 

Artist Residency in Healing – Shadows

I’ve spent the afternoon lying on the couch reading my current novel: All the light we cannot see. Energy that I thought might be increasing didn’t last too long. I fitted in a load of washing, my 5 minute energy routine (Donna Eden), vacuuming the lounge and some work on the computer. Then the couch beckoned to me.

I hopped up now and then to send a text, drink some water, take my drops, or eat my lunch. I want to be jumping around doing a million things, but my body wants rest. Quiet gentle time. So I give her that time.

I look up and see those shadows on the fridge. This means the sun is dipping behind the trees, it ‘s time to move from the couch…

Looking back from the shadow – the jasmine that is casting her pattern on the fridge. Next to her, a small apothecary.

The change of light on the fridge reminds me of washing now in shadow, so I slowly move myself from the couch, camera in hand and snap what I’m seeing. I go outside to the washing line. It’s soft and clean and no damp has landed on it yet, I’m just in time as I throw the pegs in their bag and the sheets in the basket.

Now I’m here, thinking what my top gratitude for the day is:

  • That I am witnessing the beautiful play of light at different times of day, especially this evening.

 

The Desperation to be ‘Fixed’!

The fuel of desperation

Desperation was my driving force, my momentum for the first 2 ½ years on this journey with a fistula. Every possibility, every magic pill, potion and lotion I would dive at it, desperation fuelling my direction, my hope. I searched, tirelessly for natural cures, balms, miracle stories on the internet and the next wonder worker in New Zealand, heck in the world.

It was exhausting. Desperation is an exhausting place to be in. Gentleness and desperation don’t live together too well, and so life was full on in an excruciatingly slow kind of way.

desperation-shores-insanityLife as I knew it had been turned upside down. Ideas had been crushed. Insanity often crept into my peripheral vision, lurking there, waiting for me to let down my guard. Sometimes I couldn’t help myself and I dived head first into the murky mess of it, flailing, sobbing, wishing for another world. Luckily I am a good swimmer and I would eventually get myself out of those currents and beach myself on the shore, exhausted, with nothing left to give.

‘They’ said “Acceptance is the biggest healer. If you can accept your fistula, accept life as it is, life is going to be a hell of a lot easier.

God I knew they were right. I knew if I could just accept my lot that struggle would reduce and I might find some peace in my monkey mind. But it’s easier said than done I’m afraid. I tried. You can’t accuse me of not trying. I tapped on it for days, for weeks. I mean even the basic tenant of tapping is to ‘deeply and completely love and accept myself (just how I am)’.

I don’t know what came first. A lessening of pain and struggle or the work of wonderful healers, an accumulation of tools in my toolbox and the amazing journey I began with my counsellor in Canada. Or maybe it was the perfect synergy. Does it really matter? Either way, under a year ago desperation’s fuel light came on. I didn’t realise. You know how when you’re on a mission to get somewhere in the car and it takes you ages to actually realise there’s an orange fuel tank glaring at you? That’s what happened to me. On some level I sensed a change, but it was subtle and unexpected. Plus, don’t we get used to the status quo so quickly?

On empty!

Desperation began to stutter and choke. I wondered what all the fuss was about and then one day I suddenly realised I felt a gentleness in the periphery. I would read something about an amazing cream and not start pulling my credit card out, ready to have it sent on the next courier. People would tell me about healers or links or books and I wouldn’t pounce on them for more.

It was a novel change. Unexpectedly, instead of feeling this desperation to be fixed, I felt a hunger for change and growth. The soul searching I did with Debra made we want to find more of the inner peace that was beginning to take form.

change-directionsMy relationship with myself grew to a whole new level. Of course I still wanted a healed bum. Of course I didn’t want to have to spend the rest of my life sitting on my haunches hurting my very patient knees. I didn’t want to have to wear a panty-liner every. single. day. of. my. life. But the majority of the time I had changed direction on my journey. I was seeking peace, I was catching moments, right here and now.

There were still the bad days. Days where I would find myself on the carpet (because that doesn’t require pressure on your bottom) rocking myself from side to side begging. Begging the angels, begging the Universe, begging Mother Earth to just get this over and done with already. How f%@#ing long was it going to go on for?

A gentleness

The great thing is, these times passed quicker and also more gently than before. I didn’t wallow in the feeling, desperately trying to feel positive, desperately looking for solutions. Instead it was easier for me to just be with my emotions. Watch them like a wave and know that they too would pass.

The reason I write all of this, if you’re still with me, is that I have a semi ‘ultimatum’. The surgeon has proposed a draining seton on the 30th of June if I don’t feel a heck of a lot better. You see, just before I went to see him, with the idea of taking myself and this seton to explore kshar sutras in India or Austria, I decided to try my body with Ayurveda. finding-gentlenessNot out of desperation but curiosity. And it’s actually really loving it so far. I’m only three weeks in, but hey who knows where it may take me.

So, 95% of the time I feel really calm about it all, I trust that my body will do exactly as it has to, and I will be very clear of what direction to take closer to the time. My body and I are pretty in sync these days, so our communication is great.

A sip of fuel…

However, I think this ultimatum must have put a cup of fuel in desperation’s tank, because I feel the odd lurch and cough from it at the moment. “Oh my gosh, I’ve got to heal before the 30th of June.” “Oh my gosh, I don’t even know if I want to go the seton/kshara sutra route yet.” “What else can I do to speed my healing even more right now?” “Who can I call on? What can I take?

Thank goodness these are very fleeting and far apart. I have time. I have choices. And deep down inside my inner wise woman knows the answer. So instead of falling into a desperate flailing mess trying to find those answers, I relax back into that gentleness and remind myself that I don’t need fixing. That I don’t need answers now. That what my mind body and spirit need most right now is calm. Peacefulness, gentleness and that deep deep love that every human craves.

The Fear Surrounding a Surgeon Appointment

I was due for my surgeon appointment for the first time in 18 months this last week. I wanted to discuss some alternative options that I’ve been exploring for healing my fistula, and of course I was nervous. Surgeons like performing surgery, and so asking them about anything that a) isn’t orthodox and b) isn’t about surgery, makes me feel nervous.

The last time I saw Dr B I was in a weak place, both physically and emotionally. My appointment was not what I had hoped and I left feeling like I had not been heard. I was disappointed in myself for not speaking my truth and in him, for not magically saying what I needed him to say.

This time I wanted my experience to be different. So, I booked an extra appointment with Debra, my counsellor, and just under a week before I was scheduled to see him we had a session – particularly on this topic.

It was fantastic and the best thing I could have gifted myself.

Tapping – EFT

We tapped around my fears. We tapped around past disappointments. We tapped in the positive of what I wanted from the session. We also tapped around clarity and disappointment. And speaking my truth.

When I had first voiced my fears of the appointment to Harlan, he gave me a beautiful answer:

Dr B is an expert in his field, you are in expert in your body. So, just like you can’t tell him how to perform surgery, he can’t tell you how you feel and exactly what your body wants.

Hmmm. I liked it, so we tapped on this as well.  A lot of tapping 😉

I got clear, made some notes and decided I would tell him about the natural treatments I’ve been pursuing and not feel scared about sharing my research on the kshara sutra and Ayurveda with him. This is something new for me. I automatically tend to believe that Western specialists will poo-poo these things and don’t even give them the opportunity to prove me wrong.

My Surgeon Appointment

Wednesday morning rocked around, my bum was feeling better than it’s felt in a long time with taking my Ayurvedic herbs, and Harlan and I were off to the Greenlane Hostpital in Auckland. I thought I would feel nervous, but I didn’t really. There was a little niggle of jumpiness in my tum, and so…you guessed… I tapped some more 😉 We sat in the waiting room and I focused on the smiling people, the positive people, not all the sadness that you can often focus on in hospitals. When Dr B came out to get us, I didn’t feel scared.

We began the appointment with some light-hearted banter and then delved into the details. I didn’t feel like I was inferior to him. I didn’t feel like I needed to please him. I just discussed, openly, what I had been thinking. The appointment went well. He gave me his time, he called me an optimist and he laughed about compromising with me on dates because I wanted to give our final decision more time.

I left feeling proud of myself for my clarity and deeply grateful for all the amazing support I have around me while making these big decisions.

I also realised just how much changing our own attitude before these ‘scary’ appointments changes the attitudes we get in return.

All these expectations

Expectations and the pressure…

This morning I heard about a young woman, 36, who took her life last week. She’s well known in her field, and by society’s accounts was doing very well for herself.

However, underneath the surface there was obviously a different story running for her that didn’t feel acceptable in our society. Thinking about it makes me want to shout out to all the others left behind:

“It doesn’t have to be like that! You don’t have to be perfect! You don’t have to be famous! You can be average. You can work a ‘lowly’ job and not earn enough to own your own home, and that’s OK. You can have skeletons in the closet and still be lovable.”

Or…

“You can be famous and you can be a millionaire. You can have the most prestigious job and the flashest house in town.”

What’s the difference?

The difference between whether you’re a tramp and content, or a millionaire and content, is your expectations. What expectations do you have of yourself? Are they always higher than you can reach? Do you always expect more from yourself than you can ever give? When you do something well do you stop and congratulate yourself on a job well done before you move to the next project, or do you immediately start looking at what next and what you’re not doing well enough? Are you enough in your eyes? Are you worthy in your eyes?

expectations-find-good-in-the-dayI believe you have to be at peace with yourself. Not all the time, of course. We’re human and that brings with it ups and downs. But in general are you peaceful with your way in the world?

If you have expectations that are always out of alignment with your reality you are draining away your life force and your will to be vibrantly here in this world. Now. In this moment that we are gifted.

Please, lower your expectations of yourself. Be gentle with yourself. You are a being of this world and you deserve love and you deserve kindness. Start now by giving yourself some love in whatever way you can, in whatever way makes you feel acknowledged by you. Expect love from yourself first and foremost, and make that a priority in your life.

For some inspiration to make the most of this moment, enjoy this 5 minute clip A Good Day – by a Benedict Monk.

Finding gentleness among stress…

finding-gentleness-among-stressThis is a post-script to Are you a victim of mental abuse?

Throughout my journey I have gotten the idea that stress is bad for the body. I’ve seen its effects first-hand, I’ve had people tell me to stress less (much to my frustration, because it’s not that simple)…I understand that it produces too much cortisol, which in turn does all sorts of things to your physical body that lead to body breakdown. Stress is there for the fight or flight response and when we tell our body that we’re in flight mode 24/7, things start do go a little wonky (read Dr Libby Weaver’s Rushing Woman’s Syndrome for more on this).

So I tried to deal with stress. I tried to come up with tools (like walking, EFT, taking time out for myself to read or chill). But the problem for me was that I was’t quite getting to the root of the cause. How stressful is it being abused 24/7? Everyone has a lot on their plate, but when you start telling yourself it’s too much to cope with, you can’t possibly get it done in time, it won’t be good enough, what will other people think, it will be a total failure, I couldn’t possibly do that, I’m no good…and on it goes…I believe that’s when normal life challenges turn into super stressful situations. I believe we can have these time pressures and challenges in our lives, but if we are 100% by our sides all of the way, encouraging, backing ourselves up, believing in ourselves like we would a good friend, then they don’t need to become stressful situations…they can simply be challenges.

Now the trick for me, that I foresee going forward, is keeping up this gentle relationship once everything in my body is running smoothly, when I don’t have a constant reminder to be gentle. It’s easy once everything is going well to forget to take those regular moments to say thank you.

thank-you-body

I believe that because I have shifted some emotional baggage that I’ve been carrying around for way too long, with regular EFT sessions, that continued gentleness will hopefully be a little easier than last time.

I have also now seen and felt, firsthand, the benefits of self-commitment. So now, every month I will make sure that I prioritise and book in an EFT session with a therapist. I will make sure I do Donna Eden’s 5 minute energy routine most days, I will make sure I put wonderful energy into my food and water and gently talk to my body and mind like a would a good friend…not because I have to, but because I want to and it excites me.

It’s easy to put your health and healing in someone else’s hands…the homeopath, the naturopath, the doctor, the surgeon, the acupuncturist, the Chinese healer, the energy healer. Since September 2013 I have been super seeking and seeking and seeking…for miracle answers, for miracle pills, for miracle potions and miracle healers and top surgeons…just to take this fistula away. I have spent oodles of time and money on the above…and I say to myself, these supplements will heal me, these herbs will heal me, that naturopath will have the answer.

And gosh I don’t know where I would be without all of those amazing hand-holders along the way…I am so blessed to be a lot healthier than many people who have a Crohn’s diagnosis or an anal fistula. The problem is I seem to focus on healing happening from an outside source. What’s not so easy is to take the power back, and through tools such as EFT (or anything else that works for you) to make steps towards healing yourself. Bringing the power back into your own body, in this moment, and believing that you also play a vital part in it all.

So that’s where I’m at right now…who knows where this journey will see me in a week’s time or a month’s time, but right now I’m willing to take on the challenge of kindness to self. I’m willing to see what life holds for me when I put down those boxing gloves and say no to being a victim of mental abuse.

 

Love yourself!

Love yourself like your life depends on it, because it does!

– Anita Moorjani

Gently she cradled her in her arms. Belly soft, breathing slowly, rhythmically. “I am here with you,” she whispered. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realise. We are in this to the end, and I will never leave you again.”

She didn’t know she would make this commitment that night, but so it came, whirling around her like a mini cyclone, screeching in her ears til she heard the words, “Love yourself.” And just like that it went quiet and in that stillness she heard a small girl’s voice whispering, chattering, almost inaudibly unless she held her breath.

love-yourself-inner-child“She’s so mean to me. I can’t trust her anymore. She’s always saying horrible things. I wish she’d go away. I hate it sometimes. I’m just trying to be me and all she does is tell me I’m not good enough.”

It stopped and there were sounds of nervous sobbing.

A gush of air escaped from her lungs as she sat down on the floor. It wasn’t a little girl locked in the pantry or outside wanting to be let in. No, this was her own inner child. The one she’d neglected and forgotten about. He heart raced. It was true. All those accusations were true. So how could she expect miracles and a happy life when one half of her was down-trodden and abused? Whispering quiet apologies and promises, she sat there until outside it had gone dark. Still no reply. She stood up and took a deep full breath of air into her lungs and that’s when she felt it. A timid settling inside her, unsure, but hopeful.

And so she promised to never leave her again. To try to never speak those awful words.

Do we get told ‘love yourself’?

Why is it that we are not taught self-love at school? Surely this is number one? I don’t mean the “I’m top of the class in Maths,” or “I’m so good at soccer,” type. That can be ego or arrogance creeping in, and often comes at a cost of true self-love. When you’re not top in Maths for a test, the barrage of abuse cracks around in your head “You idiot, you should have studied harder. I can’t believe it, it was so easy and you just stuffed up.”

No, I’m talking about the gentle, kind self-love. As you realise that the more you abuse yourself in your mind, the more timid a part of you becomes. It is what guides you through the deep and meaningful moments in your life, but when its feels shut down you may struggle to hear it in these times of need.

I’m too fat. Look at my love-handles, ooo yuk! I’ve got rolls – 3 actually and look how they go over the edge of my jeans.

Well look at my face, it’s hideous, I’ve got these blind pimples all over my chin. It’s so gross.

I hate my arms, they’re all flabby. I want nice toned arms like those girls you see in … magazine.

At least you guys have got boobs, mine are non-existent, I don’t even need a bra, so I have to wear falsies to pretend. I’m so jealous.

love-yourselfAs a female I struggle to believe that many of you missed out on these types of conversations, either during lunch breaks at school or in the changing rooms. How was it that no-one told us to cut it out. Hang on, they did actually. I clearly remember my mum saying to me and my friends that we were beautiful and were definitely not fat. ‘Ya, Ya” we thought, of course she’s going to say that. It made no difference, not to me anyway.

It just seemed the accepted thing to do. You heard adults talking about their bodies not playing ball as they aged, and you compared yourself to all those photo-shopped, anorexic models and felt inadequate.

When I walk down that grey stony path of remorse my feet hurt and my heart sits heavy in my chest. All those years of beauty, freshness and youth ‘wasted’ on ungratefulness. I put ‘wasted’ in inverted commas as of course it wasn’t wasted. It was all part of my journey and all part of growing up and learning certain lessons.

One day when your body doesn’t behave quite the way you expect it to every morning when you wake, you start looking seriously down that path and wondering how you could have taken all this for granted. How you could have taken your young lithe body for granted. Its endless energy, all your organs behaving as they should…

Then a quiet reminder: Love yourself! And I am thankful that I found this path of self love in my 30s…better later than never 🙂